Get Started with your Lab in the Cloud for FREE!

Now that Windows Azure Infrastructure Services has been released, I frequently get asked about ways in which a SharePoint 2013 lab environment can be easily built in the cloud for studying, testing, demos, developer environments and/or performing a proof-of-concept for production usage.  You could certainly build this lab environment on your own hardware, but due to the level of SharePoint 2013 hardware requirements, a lot of us may not have sufficient spare hardware to implement an on-premise lab environment.

This makes a great scenario for leveraging our Windows Azure FREE Trial Offer to get started building a free Dev/Test lab environment for SharePoint 2013 in the cloud.  Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a basic functional farm environment for SharePoint 2013 with your free trial subscription for Windows Azure.

Note: If you are testing advanced SharePoint 2013 scenarios and need more resources than available in the lab configuration below, you can certainly scale-up or scale-out elastically by provisioning larger VMs or additional SharePoint web and application server VMs.  To determine the specific costs associated with higher resource levels after your free trial has concluded, please visit the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator for Virtual Machines.

Configuring SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services

To deliver a functional and expandable lab environment, this article provides step-by-step details for provisioning SharePoint Server 2013 on Windows Azure VMs that will require three (3) VMs on a common Windows Azure Virtual Network. Watch this short video for a quick primer on the configuration we’ll be using:

In this lab, we’ll be using a naming convention of XXXlabYYY01, where XXX will be replaced with your unique initials and YYY will be replaced with an abbreviation representing the function of a virtual machine or Windows Azure configuration component (ie., ad, db or app).


The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:

  • A Windows Azure subscription with the Virtual Machines Preview enabled.DO IT: Sign up for a FREE Trial of Windows Azure

    NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time.

  • Completion of the Getting Started tasks in the following article:DO IT: Getting Started with Servers in the Cloud
  • This step-by-step guide assumes that the reader is already somewhat familiar with configuring Windows Server Active Directory, SQL Server and SharePoint Server in an on-premise installation. This guide focuses on the unique aspects associated with configuring these components on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
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